A ribbon cutting ceremony was held on Jan. 12 for a new Multi-Function Climactic Chamber (MFCC) in the Environmental Test Lab (ETL) at Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division Lakehurst (NAWCAD LKE).

“This investment demonstrates NAWCAD’s commitment to Lakehurst and reinforces the organic development here at Lakehurst,” NAWCAD LKE Executive Director Kathleen P. Donnelly said during the ceremony. “This machine, and its capabilities, will assist in the synergy of design, prototyping, test, redesign and retest all within Lakehurst.”

The large chamber can reach temperatures as low as minus 103 F to as high as 356 F and up to 100% relative humidity. In addition, the chamber can replicate rainfall of up to 12 inches per hour, including salt fog and >1600 W/m2 irradiance.

“The MFCC is a revolutionary step forward in climatic testing equipment, pushing the boundary of what was once thought to be impossible,” lab manager Jonathan Myers said during the ceremony. “The purpose of this testing is for model validation and verification and to discover critical design issues now before full deployment, where costs to repair are orders of magnitude higher and could cause severe mission, equipment and personnel risks.”

Myers noted that the chamber is large enough to fit “nearly all products of Lakehurst and other commands.” In addition, with its various testing capabilities, the MFCC can conduct several tests simultaneously, reducing the testing time from close to a year to one or two months.

While the lab already had a similar chamber, which is nearly 10 years old, environmental test engineer Chris Snyder said the additional capabilities, including salt fog, solar radiation and rain testing make it an invaluable addition.

“Overall, the MFCC is a very important addition to the ETL, Lakehurst and the Command,” Donnelly said during the ceremony. “I want to congratulate the ETL team. Their hard work, dedication and persistence have allowed us to procure this machine. I look forward to the continued success of this machine and Lab.”